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Ways to transform and boost your salads

Welcome to salad season! Get ready to elevate your salads from mundane to extraordinary with these tips.

Has your regular salad lost its crunch? Try these tips to totally transform it and boost your health in the most delicious way.   

Leaf it all to me  

Picking the right base is half the work done when creating a salad you actually want to eat.  Try these:  

Iceberg: Perfect for creamy salads with vinaigrettes or mustards, or even for a salad cup filled with a prawn cocktail or taco filling. 
Butter lettuce: Tender and smooth, this lettuce works with light flavours and chicken. 
Cos lettuce: Subtle flavour with a perfect crispy crunch, this is traditionally used in Caesar salads to help cut the richness of the cheese and dressing. 
Rocket: Packing more of a peppery, sharp punch, rocket is perfect paired with soft cheese like feta. Top with an oil-based dressing and a scattering of cranberries, apricots or peach slices. 
Baby leaf spinach: It’s a perfect fresh canvas for creamy morsels like avocado, and the fruity sweetness from apples.   

Pack in the protein  

The tried-and-tested salad ratio is as simple as 1, 2, 3… 4! When you next make a salad, build it up as follows:  

  1. The base: Add 3-4 cups fresh salad leaves of choice. 
  2. The body: Go colour crazy with 2-3 cups of sliced fruit and fresh or roasted veggies. 
  3. The protein: Add sustenance with a serving of grilled chicken, sliced ham, roasted chickpeas or leftover roast beef. 
  4. The texture: Time for some crunch! Add a few tablespoons of croutons, a grain like couscous, nuts like almonds and walnuts or cheese like crumbled feta or shaved Parmesan.

Topping time  

It’s almost time to enjoy your new-found love for salads! Add toppings from our list below… a dressing is always a good idea as it brings everything together.  

  • Cheese: Use a vegetable peeler to create thin Parmesan shavings, or try crumbled goat’s cheese, feta, Cheddar, ricotta or blue cheese. 
  • Crunch: Crumble over nacho chips, uncooked 2-minute noodles or croutons. 
  • Seeds: Sprinkle over toasted pumpkin, chia, or sunflower seeds. 
  • Nuts: Cashews, almonds, walnuts and pistachios all work well. 
  • Dried fruit: Raisins, cranberries, chopped apricots, mango or peaches add a touch of sweetness. 
  • Grains: Toss your salad with cooked barley, bulgur wheat, quinoa, couscous or brown or wild rice. 
  • Legumes: Try spiced tinned beans, lentils or chickpeas. 

Words: Sjaan van der Ploeg

Photography: Fresh Living Magazine / Shutterstock

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